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EA states take stock of union

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17- Member states of the East African Community are due to meet in Moshi, Tanzania on Tuesday six months after the implementation of the Common Market Protocol.

Ministry of the East African Community Permanent Secretary David Nalo said the meeting will assess the progress made by each partner state particularly in terms of aligning the national legislation to the Common Market Protocol.

Addressing the teething problems such as non-tariff barriers that have been experienced since the actualisation of the Protocol in July 2010 will also feature prominently during the meeting.

“The meeting will highlight the progress we are making and whether or not those teething problems are there,” said the PS.

Although Kenya undertook to institute legal and institutional reforms such as amending the Immigration and Employment Acts to ensure that they conform to the Protocol, Mr Nalo admitted that this process was not going on as smoothly as they had expected.

“As far as the 27 pieces of legislation that we had identified before the new Constitution came into being have been a challenge in terms of how the Attorney General should proceed with them given the urgency of finalising laws that will enable the new constitution come into effect,” he disclosed.

But even as the partner states continue to grapple with these challenges, there appears to be a commitment to push ahead with the implementation of the other pillars of the regional integration agenda.

A four-day meeting opened in Arusha, Tanzania on Monday to negotiate on the Protocol to establish the East African Monetary Union which will pave the way for the introduction of a single currency. 

The third pillar of the integration agenda after the Customs Union and Common Market, the establishment of the monetary union is expected to reduce the costs and risks of transacting business across the national boundaries of the member states and thus spur investment flows and growth.

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With all these activities going on at the technical level, the EAC is also working on programs that aim to enhance the participation of the East Africans at the grass root level as well as those in the private sector.

For this reason, the PS said the Ministry was finalising the second round of the sensitisation campaign through which it aims to create awareness about the regional integration process among Kenyans and would roll it out this month.

“We are also working closely with Trademark East Africa to launch a major institution coming on board to support the East African Community capacity and institutional building,” he revealed.

Mr Nalo spoke on the sidelines of a meeting on how to invest in the East African youth who account for about 70 percent of the region’s population to ensure that they contribute positively to the bloc’s growth.

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